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on 25 September 2012
I was delighted to see that The Uninvited is at last available on DVD - this is easily the scariest film produced in the golden 1940s era of cinema and still stands up today among the best ghost stories. It has no gimmicks and just a few carefully judged effects but triumphs through suggesting something lurking in the shadows and leaving your imagination to do the rest. The script, production and cast led by Ray Milland are all excellent. There are a couple of real jump-out-of-your seat shock scares, and lots of genuinely spine-tingling moments. I recall seeing this as a teenager one stormy Sunday afternoon on TV and it scared the pants off me. Perfect for Halloween if your tastes stretch further than seeing tedious teens hacked to pieces.
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The Uninvited is one of those films that probably owes much of its classic status to how little it has been seen over the years since its release: never available on a legitimate DVD until Exposure's new UK DVD release and rarely seen on TV in most countries, it's developed a formidable reputation as one of the great screen ghost stories that it can't really live up to. Not that it's a bad film by any means, but a few frissons apart it's not a particularly chilling one. Given a bigger budget than usual for the genre in the 40s and a then A-list leading man in Ray Milland, the emphasis seems to be on turning it into a romantic melodrama that's a kind of friendlier, cosier variation on Rebecca even if the plot is quite different. Accidentally stumbling across a large old house in Cornwall, Milland and his sister Ruth Hussey find it's on the market at a suspiciously low price because of its reputation for `disturbances,' but buy it anyway. The former owner, gruff Donald Crisp, wants it off his hands to keep his granddaughter Gail Russell away, and as pets refuse to go upstairs and unexpected chills and scents give way to sobbing in the night, it becomes clear that her long-dead mother hasn't vacated the premises - and that she's not the only ghost in the house either...

It's a well enough developed mystery even if you can see the resolution coming as soon as one character lets slip one vital bit of back story, but it doesn't seem to want to frighten its audience much, which was probably a sound commercial decision in 1944 but today leaves it in the shadow of more genuinely unsettling ghost stories like The Haunting. Seen with lowered expectations, it's a nice, cosy picture (well, the screenplay was co-written by 101 Dalmatians' Dodie Smith) with some good moments - a faked séance that turns real, some effective apparitions and a satisfying way of finally laying the malignant spirit - rather than a great one. Exposure's DVD, licensed from Universal, is a more than decent effort. The picture quality may not be quite top notch and is clearly unrestored but is certainly good enough, and they've put real effort into the extras - two radio adaptations with Milland from 1944 and 1949, the original theatrical trailer and a booklet.
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on 10 July 2012
I've long been a fan of this classic ghost movie. I watch an inordinate amount of horror, and this is one of the few that contains genuine scares. And it was made more than 60 years ago.

Rick (Ray Milland on fantastic form, combining a light touch with heavyweight acting chops) and his sister buy a cliffside house from a curmudgeonly old man. They soon find out about the desperate sound of a woman crying in the night, but by then it's too late and they are stuck with the place. Worse, the old man's grand-daughter seems drawn to the house, although something there appears to want to harm her. Old, ugly secrets come to the surface as the brother and sister try to find out what is wrong with Windward House.

The Uninvited weaves its story with so many eerie scenes - the shadow on the stairs that frightens Lizzy, the crying in the night, the seance, the moment when Rick realizes the horror isn't over - that put modern imitators to shame.

The Uninvited has no irritating, over-wrought teenagers, no blood and guts, no tiresome, unwieldy psychological backgrounds cluttering up the characters and therefore the story. What it does have is an intelligent script, appropriate music and extremely good, restrained acting. What also stands out is the deft use of shadows and sounds, and of actors who can play characters who are truly afraid but eschew tedious hysteria in favour of stiff upper lips. The scene where Rick and his sister are in the studio and she tries to convince herself that the atmosphere of evil has gone - film-makers of the 21st century, take note.

If you want a fantastic, old-fashioned chiller of a ghost story, try this on some dark and stormy night.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 29 October 2012
This new DVD edition of the 1944 American supernatural movie "The Uninvited" is the perfect treat for a dark Autumn night. This almost gothic chiller, situated in an old house on a cornish cliff top, is total magic.

The plot is comfortingly familiar without being cliched either. Part mystery, part romance, part ghost story, the film, directed by Lewis Allen is quite closely based on a very successful novel by Dorothy Macardle - "Uneasy Freehold" - and stars stars Ray Milland and Ruth Hussey, two excellent actors, as brother and sister confronting something decidedly unpleasant in their "new" old home! Yes, you actually like the characters, and they are far removed from the uncharismatic 18 year olds who dominate most contemporary "horror" movies. To really engage with a film I need to "like" or at least be interested in the fate of the characters and rest assured in The Uninvited - you do.

Charles Lang was nominated in the 1945 Academy Awards for the Best Black and White Cinematography - and my word he deserved this, judging from this new release.

Remastered, but not restored, this is still a decent transfer with a high bitrate for it's "premiere" authorised release on DVD. Yes a restored blu ray version would have been an improvement but unlike some other reviewers I have little complaints about this very welcome release which stood up well to being projected on my 120" screen.

Don't forget this is a 1944 production though, so don't expect CGI etc etc. That's if you like CGI! What you get instead is a master-class in understated threat and a growing sense of unease which is sadly rare in modern film making.

So draw the curtains, light the pumpkin, and settle back with this little masterpiece, from a bygone age of magical film making, and enjoy!

Extras Include:

Illustrated collector's booklet featuring new articles and four lobby card reproductions.

Original theatrical trailer.

Gallery of production stills, posters and lobby cards.

Technical Details:
Remastered. 1.33:1 Full Frame English DD2.0 Mono
Dual-layer, progressive scan.
High-bitrate encoding
English Subtitles.
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on 19 February 2012
This is a very entertaining picture made in a time when directors had talent to suggest horror instead of show horror. You just see all the films produced by Val Lewton (Cat People, I Walked With A Zombie, Isle Of Dead) for RKO in the forties and you will be shocked¡ This film shares that quality. Ray Milland always effective, the lovely Ruth Hussey and what can I say about the eternal beauty of Gail Russell? one of the saddest stories of Hollywood. Although amazon claims this is the first official release I bought a couple of years ago here in Spain a decent copy of The Uninvited as part of a pack of cheap but very good horror films from the thirties and forties. See it. You won't regret it.
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on 8 January 2016
The Uninvited is not creepy and it is not scary and this was a MAJOR letdown after reading so many reviews. Even the blurb on the box pretends this is straight horror. The first moment we know this isn't a straight horror film is when Ray Milland and his sister played by Ruth Hussey calmly go back to bed after hearing screams of crying from nowhere. If that wasn't bad enough an Elstree comedic tune then takes place as Milland hops back to bed.

Meanwhile Milland goes courting a woman whose mother may be haunting his new home- she is played by Gail Russell who is horrible in this picture, how she made it through the auditions is anyone's guess.

From here on in the movie just plods on with no frights, again this isn't an eerie movie, indeed had it been a 40s romance movie we would have been in for a pleasant treat because the acting sans Russell is very good. The sets are pretty good too, and it gets an extra star for that because this is really bordering on a 2 star rating. I won't use the terms of tame like others have, because the movies intention was always to be like that and for this it succeeded. This movie in a nutshell is not for horror fans, non horror fans will more than likely enjoy it more.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 4 January 2013
This is a genuinely chilling film. The Director and producers had the sense to know that suspense is generated by the suggestion of ghostly goings-on more than the showing of them. The viewer's imagination is the most potent scenery available. Here, the viewer is invited to exercise imagination right to the end.

The storyline is good and well thought through. It is more than a story involving ghosts: it is also a mystery, and a very good one. Just what DID happen in the house many years ago? The resolution is satisfying: there are clues throughout the film that point to the eventual answer: if you spot them you give yourself a pat on the back for working it out. It's not one of those films where an improbable twist near the end reveals an answer that nobody could possibly have deduced.

And there's a little romance thrown in for good measure.

The acting is good, the direction crisp. Ray Milland is at his best and well supported by a strong cast. Considering that this was a film made during the War, the production quality is high and, coupled with a story-line that has stood the test of time, it has aged well.

Definitely worth watching. Very good: four stars.
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VINE VOICEon 11 July 2013
Roderick Fitzgerald (Ray Milland) and his sister Pamela (Ruth Hussey) are touring the Cornish sea side when their dog chases a squirrel into an empty house. They follow and in the process of recovering the dog see and house and fall in love with it. Even though they were strongly implied to that it may just be haunted they buy it anyway. Naturally animals can see what people do not and their dog runs off. The Cooks cat will not go upstairs. Stella Meredith (Gail Russell) thinks it is her mother's ghost and wants s to visit. Her grandfather Commander Beech (Donald Chrisp) knows something but is not saying.

The movie gets progressively creepier. What is bad is they the brother and sister accept that fact that the house is haunted from the beginning and instead of running away, with the help of the local doctor, attempt to fix the situation.

Keep up with the story as everyone has a different version and you may not be so surprised in the end. Meantime the acting and the pacing is great.

I bought the VHS and converted it to DVD; but I would not mind having an official DVD
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on 13 August 2015
A classic for its mysterious yet familiar environment. It is not scary but you feel like being there and the setting on the cliffs is fascinating. The story is important because it will inspire many horror films about revenging ghosts.
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on 21 March 2014
Brother and sister Roderick Fitzgerald(Ray Milland) and Pamela Fitzgerald(Ruth Hussey)down from London for the weekend find an abandoned old mansion overlooking the cliifs on the wild north Cornwall coastline.Impulsively they make a low offer to the owner ,retired and defiantly cantankerous commander Beech(Donald Crisp) only to be surprised when he accepts.They quickly find out that the house comes with a past but undeterred they press on with the purchase.Roderick becomes taken with the commander's granddaughter Stella(Gail russell) whose mother, Beech's daughter, plunged to her death many years before and is drawn to the house by forces that she assumes to be her.......

Considered to be the first film to take the old haunted house plot seriously,The Uninvited is first class entertainment from start to finish.Milland and Hussey are splendid as the well matched siblings and Gail Russell(a much maligned actress in her day who suffered from chronic nerves and who was to die tragically at 36 from alcohol abuse)is captivating as the haunted damsel in distress.Throw in Alan Napier as a splendidly resourceful doctor and willing third party to the unfolding events and the beautifully judged screenplay by Dodie Smith and Frank Partos which achieves effortlessly what so many films seem incapable of attaining, that of the characters saying exactly the right things at exactly the right times so the story continually feels credible throughout.The "Oh come on"quotient is ridiculously low and the denouement ,while guessable,is tantalisingly played out.The only false note is struck by the unconvincing performance by Cornelia Otis Skinner as the enigmatic Miss holloway.

I purchased the stan def 2k print by Criterion and save some very soft opening exteriors of the waves crashing into the cliffs,the print is nicely textured and affords Charles Lang's peerless work some wonderful moments with blacks and shdows perfectly good.Indeed the bit when the housekeeper screams out and Roderick racing in locates her with the lamp is beautifully done.
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